"Listen: You don’t feel well, so you go to see the psychiatrist. And the doctor listens to your story. And, if he’s a good doctor, he’s listening for the parts of the story that are making you feel sick. His job is then to help you tell a new story about yourself, especially one that will make you well. Newspapers are the same way. Journalists are telling each other stories about themselves that are making them sick. So the remedy is to tell a new story about journalism that will help make journalism healthy again."
Roy Peter Clark posted this and many other snapshot quotes and stories that he heard from James Carey over the years. Carey, among many other things, was a preminent communications scholar and professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and passed away May 23rd. RPC's tribute is here:
Carey was a charming, eloquent, and thoughtful little old man with bright twinkly blue eyes. I sat rapt in the front row of the last Critical Issues course he taught at Columbia in the Fall of 2004. I should have taken the evening course with another prof, made convenient for part-time students, but it was easy enough for me to take long Friday lunch hours to sit in with the full-timers. I made a point of sitting front row right, the better to watch and wait for Carey to take his turn with co-teacher, Steve Isaacs. Because while Isaacs could hold the room alternating between soliliquy and bullying commentary out of us, Carey's spare and wise words were the punctuation that made meaning out of Isaac's passion.